Just on my way back from a brilliant vertical tasting of Château Batailley, the fourth-growth Pauillac producer with a reputation for making elegant, typical wines.
It was held at The Sampler’s South Kensington shop. This was the first time I’d been to this new incarnation of The Sampler, and it is well located at the back of South Kensington tube station. As an aside: the Sampler must be London’s most interesting wine merchant these days. Thrillingly good range.
How did Batailley do? After a rather closed 2006, we struck gold with the 2000, which is beautifully expressive. 1996 is even better: a really nice elegant wine. 1990 was my favourite wine of the night, with its measured richness, elegance and purity. This is why people get excited by Bordeaux. 1982 was lovely but not quite as exciting or elegant. 1976 had survived well and showed some fruit, but had angular tannins. 1966 was a little past it, although a second bottle was nicer. 1960 was funky and over-the-top, but still and interesting drink. 1949 was a real treat. It’s rare to taste a wine this old that’s still very much alive, and tastes of wine. It wasn’t perfectly elegant, but it was interesting.
Batailley, from this tasting, represents what is good about Bordeaux. Wines that aim at elegance, and achieve this with 10-20 years’ bottle age.